Arlington County is searching for families willing to foster or adopt children, and anyone interested in learning about taking in a child can attend an information session tomorrow.
Foster care is a temporary arrangement for children who cannot live in their homes because of neglect, abuse or serious family trouble. These children might stay with a foster family for just a few days, or for years. Adults who are approved to foster can explore the possibility of adopting children as well.
Although the county needs families to accept all types of foster children, it has a particular need for people who will care for those of Hispanic, African American and other cultural backgrounds. There’s also high demand for families to take in teenagers, children with special needs and siblings.
Foster parents must be over 21, be employed either inside or outside the home and live in a house or apartment in or near Arlington County.
Adults interested in becoming a foster parent — or even just learning about what it entails — can attend an information session tomorrow (Thursday) night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Contact Erica Serrano for information about the session location, at [email protected] or 703-228-1559.
Flooding Closes Roads, Prompts Warning — Updated at 8:45 a.m. — Many Arlington residents may be bleary-eyed this morning after being woken up twice overnight: once by thunder, and another time by a Flash Flood Warning that sounded on many phones. Heavy rain caused flooding that prompted the temporary closure of I-66 in Arlington and the HOV lanes of I-395 just before the 14th Street Bridge. A Flood Warning remains in effect until 11:45 a.m. as additional rain is expected this morning. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]
Crystal City ‘Makes Parking Garages Cool Again’ — Some national press for the Crosshairs Garage Races in Crystal City: “Unbeknownst to the few at street level, there’s a crowd gathering in a parking garage below an unremarkable office building. Inside, giant speakers blast rock music. Cow bells ring. There’s whooping and hollering, there’s pie and beer–and there are bikes everywhere.” [Citylab]
County Employee Recognized for Preventing Abuse — “Cheryl Fuentes, who has been working in the Arlington County government for more than a quarter-century changing the lives of parents and children, was honored as Arlington’s 2018 ‘Ally in Prevention’ by Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia.” [InsideNova]
APS Finalists for WaPo Awards — Hoffman-Boston principal Kimberley Graves and Thomas Jefferson Middle School teacher Timothy Wyatt Cotman, Jr. are among the finalists for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year awards. [Washington Post]
ACPD to Hold Award Ceremony — “The Arlington County Police Department will hold its annual Principles of Government Service Awards (PGSA) Ceremony on Monday, May 7, 2018, at Kenmore Middle School, 200 S. Carlin Springs Road, at 7 p.m. The ceremony recognizes the achievements of police personnel in service to the community and highlights the Department’s dedicated pledge of duty, honor and commitment.” [Arlington County]
Photo courtesy Kathleen Branch
The children in need of foster care come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and can no longer live in their homes because of abuse, neglect or severe family issues. Fostering is a temporary arrangement, but in some cases it can lead to adoption.
Families willing to take in teenagers, sibling groups and children with special needs are in particularly high demand.
The county has the following qualifications for becoming a foster parent:
- Able to accept a child who needs a lot of patience, understanding and love
Over the age of 21
- Married or single
- With or without biological children
- Employed inside or outside the home
- Living in a house or apartment in Arlington County or the surrounding Virginia area
Staff with Child and Family Services will hold an information session from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The location will be sent to those who RSVP to [email protected]
Patrick Joseph Friedel, 29, will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to possession and production of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia announced today.
Friedel admitted to meeting five underage girls over the internet and, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office, exchanged sexually explicit images with them, using “persuasion, including sending depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and coercion, including threats to post images online and tell parents.”
According to a signed affidavit by the Department of Homeland Security agent assigned to the case and acquired by ARLnow.com, Friedel used social networking apps Kik and MeetMe with the username “gthoya” to find victims and persuade them to send him sexually explicit images and videos.
Law enforcement found approximately 500 images or videos on Friedel’s computer of minors engaging in sex acts or other lewd behavior, according to the affidavit. The majority of the media was sent to Friedel directly at his request. At least six of the images or videos were of children under the age of 10 engaging in sex acts with adult males, but agents believe Friedel acquired them from other sources online.
Friedel engaged in sexual activity with one of the girls with whom he had contact three times, taking pictures and videos of the incidents. According to Friedel’s plea agreement, the images “included sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.” The victim was 15 years old at the time.
The affidavit states Friedel rented a Zipcar to drive to the victim’s house, pick her up, and engage in intercourse and “oral and anal sodomy” in the back seat. On a separate occasion, Friedel picked her up and brought her to his home in Arlington, where he filmed their sexual encounters. On the videotape, the agent states, he instructs her to perform sex acts to him and “slapped her on the head” when she did not do as instructed.
Friedel is scheduled to be sentenced on April 24.
The full press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office is after the jump.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Patrick Joseph Friedel, 29, of Arlington, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to production and possession of child pornography.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C.; and Edwin C. Roessler, Jr., Chief of Police, Fairfax County Police Department made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.
Friedel was originally indicted by a federal grand jury on November 20, 2014. Friedel faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when he is sentenced on April 24, 2015. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress. It is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Friedel acknowledged meeting five underage teenagers over the Internet and exchanging sexually explicit images with them. In this pattern of activity, Friedel used persuasion, including sending depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and coercion, including threats to post images online and tell parents. On three occasions, Friedel picked up one of the minors and engaged in sexual activity with her. He took pictures and videos of this activity, which according to the plea agreement, included sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Fairfax County Police Department with the assistance of the Northern Virginia/DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Gardner and Tracy Doherty-McCormick are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-383.
Flickr photo by Joe Gratz
Yet another caregiver at a daycare center on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall has been charged with abusing children.
Va Nessa Taylor, 47, or Temple Hills, Md. has been charged with misdemeanor assault after military investigators found that she allegedly hit, pushed and withheld food from children between the ages of 18 months and two years. From a Department of Justice press release:
On Jan. 29, 2014, a CDC employee reported to a supervisor that Taylor had been observed withholding food from a two-year-old child during the facility’s lunch period. After this conduct was reported, officials investigated the allegations and conducted a thorough review of surveillance footage within the CDC. That investigation ultimately revealed four instances in which Taylor allegedly assaulted four children within her care by hitting and pushing the children. The children ranged in ages from 18 months to two years, and the observed conduct occurred from Nov. 26, 2013 to Jan. 29, 2014.
Based on the investigation, Taylor’s conduct did not appear to result in sustained physical injury to the children. Taylor was removed from her duties of supervising children on Jan. 30, 2014, immediately after her conduct was reported to the relevant authorities at JBM-HH.
The alleged assault happened at the Cody Child Development Center, the military’s largest daycare center, which serves the children of military and civilian families that work at the Pentagon, Myer-Henderson Hall and Ft. McNair.
It’s the third such incident of alleged abuse at the base in two years.
In October 2012 three childcare workers were charged with multiple counts of assault. In December 2012, nearly three dozen workers childcare workers were suspended after background checks revealed past criminal charges. In February 2013 the Cody CDC lost its accreditation after another childcare worker was accused of abuse after allegedly being observed hitting a child with a cushion.
James Bentley, of Arlington, is charged with two counts of child endangerment after police say he locked his 10-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter in his vehicle, in a parking lot on the 500 block of S. 23rd Street, while he was gambling on a horse-racing video game inside Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.).
The children were locked in the car for about a half hour, according to police, with the car turned off. The mother was called to the scene, along with child protective services, to pick up the children.
Another Military Daycare Worker Accused of Abuse — Another Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall daycare worker has been accused of abuse, just three months after another daycare abuse scandal broke at the base. This time, a daycare worker is accused of hitting a three-year-old child with a seat cushion. [WJLA]
Crystal City Plan Wins National Award — The Crystal City Sector Plan has won the American Planning Association’s 2013 National Planning Achievement Award for Innovation in Economic Planning and Development. “This ambitious, creative plan is already beginning to make Crystal City an even better place to live, work and play, and to help Arlington meet the serious challenges posed by BRAC,” said Arlington County Board Chair Walter Tejada, in a statement. [Arlington County]
Wine Walk This Weekend — Crystal City will host its annual “1K Wine Walk” this weekend. All but one “heat” on Saturday is sold out, but tickets are still available for most time slots on Sunday. The “1K Beer Walk” will take place two weekends from now. Disclosure: Event organizer Washington Wine Academy is an ARLnow.com advertiser. [Washington Wine Academy]
Seeking ‘Women of Vision’ Nominees — Arlington County’s Commission on the Status of Women is seeking nominations for the 2013 Women of Vision Awards. “The awards are given to individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to women’s issues, and have, over time, developed and communicated their vision for women and engaged community members and other leaders in order to realize this vision,” the county said on its website. [Arlington County]
Flickr pool photo by Airpolonia
Ft. Myer Daycare Investigation Widens — What started as allegations of assault against two workers at a daycare center on Ft. Myer has widened into a worldwide probe of military child care hiring practices. At least 31 daycare staffers at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall have been suspended after investigators found “disqualifying factors in their records, including history of drug use and past allegations of assault.” One official called it “a severe lapse in the background checks system.” [Washington Post]
DoD Relaxes Security Standards for Some Buildings — A loosening of the Department of Defense’s security standards for commercial office buildings may make it easier for the DoD to lease office space in Arlington (and elsewhere). Earlier this month, the Pentagon reversed a policy put in place in response to 9/11 that required that leased office space meet stringent anti-terrorism security standards, even for administrative offices within the DoD. [Washington Business Journal]
Marymount Seeking to Redevelop Ballston Property — Marymount University is pushing ahead with a plan to redevelop its 50-year-old “Blue Goose” building at the corner of N. Glebe Road and Fairfax Drive in Ballston. The university has proposed replacing the aging building with an office building and an apartment building. [Sun Gazette]
Science Focus Teacher Wins Recognition — “Arlington Science Focus School Principal Mary Begley was named Administrator of the Year by the Greater Washington Reading Council at its annual conference in Fairfax” on Wednesday, says a school press release. [Arlington Public Schools]
Flickr pool photo by Damiec
November is Here — Today is the first day of November. Thanksgiving is three weeks away and Christmas is just under eight weeks away.
Daycare Workers At Fort Myer Accused of Abuse — Three childcare workers at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall have been charged with assault after Army investigators, using surveillance cameras, observed them hitting, pushing and pinching young children, according to court documents. [WJLA]
Dems Set Fundraising Record — The Arlington County Democratic Committee has set a new fundraising record. ACDC raised more than $38,000 through its “Dollars for Democrats” campaign, compared to last year’s record haul of $21,258. [Sun Gazette]
Absentee Voting May Set Record — Arlington election officials are predicting a record number of absentee ballots cast in advance of the Nov. 6 general election. [Arlington Connection]
In one of his first acts as a state Senator, Sen. Adam Ebbin (D) has introduced legislation that would require athletic coaches and directors at public and private schools and universities to report incidents of child abuse.
Ebbin’s bill is SB 265 — an amendment to an existing Virginia law that requires “any teacher or other person employed in a public or private school, kindergarten or nursery school” to report any suspected incident of child abuse or neglect within 72 hours, or face fines. SB 265 would amend the law to apply to “any teacher, athletic coach or director, or other person employed in a public or private school, kindergarten or nursery school, or institution of higher education.”
The bill’s introduction comes just two months after the Penn State sex abuse scandal rocked the world of college athletics.
“Senator Ebbin is very concerned about the abuses at Penn State and felt that we needed to ensure that nothing like that ever happened in Virginia,” Ebbin spokesman Donald Moss told ARLnow.com. “The bill will require that reporting of suspected child abuse be mandatory both by those in athletics and anyone employed by an institute of higher learning, which is change to current Virginia code that everyone will agree is all the more necessary in a post Penn State world.”
SB 265 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services, which is scheduled to meet on Friday morning.